Let’s make it simple – in layman’s terms when we eat sugar it causes our blood sugar levels to spike which in turn causes insulin levels to rise. Now insulin is a hormone that is used to control blood sugar levels and therefore is released by the body to help regulate these levels in the blood. If – this is a big if – the sugar you’ve just eaten in not quickly used for energy then the insulin removes it from the blood and then converts into triglycerides within the liver. These triglycerides are then stored as body fat.
Not only does sugar turn to fat within our bodies, it is also a very addictive substance and in some circumstances has been widely proven to lead to behaviour and neurochemical changes that resemble the effects of a substance abuse. Eating sugar gives us a feeling of ‘pleasure’ and releases opiates and dopamine within the reward system of the brain (called the Nucleus Accumbens) which is the same area stimulated by drugs of abuse such like nicotine and cocaine. This can lead to full blown addiction to sugar!
Are you a sugar addict?
Do you get strong cravings for sugar and are unable to quit or reduce your consumption despite negative physical consequences – i.e. weight gain?
Then you are a sugar addict!
We can help fight this addiction and get you through this barrier of torment!
When craving sugar not only are you craving those ‘pleasure’ feelings within the brain you also probably have low blood sugar levels, making you feel tired, lethargic and unhappy. The ideal is to have stable blood sugar levels continuously throughout the day so you feel energetic and willing to face the day. We can do this by eating regularly (every 2-3 hours) as well as eating the right foods. Foods with a low Glycaemic Index (GI) have very little effect on blood sugar levels and therefore don’t cause them to spike, foods such as: apples, blueberries, raspberries, nuts, humus, oatmeal, oatbran, rolled oats, oatcakes, wholemeal foods (whole wheat bread, brown rice), soya, linseed, vegetables (mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, aubergine, cabbage), to name a few.
It takes on average 3 days for sugar cravings to completely subside leaving you feeling invigorated and energetic from good whole foods as well as antioxidant, vitamin and mineral packed foods. Gradually your insulin sensitivity will increase and you will not require that big blood sugar spike to feel normal, your blood sugar levels will stabilise and you will be burning fat – losing weight – by eating healthily and controlling calories.
When attempting to cut down on sugar it all depends on what type of person your personality fits across the addiction fighting spectrum. If you are someone with determination and a good will power you probably can allow yourself a treat every now and then in order to stay focused and achieve your goal. However, some of you may lack discipline and sometimes going completely ‘cold turkey’ is the best way to fight your addiction. Try stopping eating processed and added sugar for three days straight, eat low GI foods and fruits in order to stabilise your blood sugar levels and see how you feel after those three days. Give it a go as there is no harm in trying!